Skinny Pillar New England Style  Sewing Machine / c. 1860 - 1870 Rare Antique Tourist Sewing Machine Larry & Carole Meeker
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Patented & Antique
Pre-1870 Sewing Machines
& Toy Sewing Machines

We are active, experienced dealers in rare and historically important American patented sewing machines.  We specialize in pre 1870 sewing machines and we are always interested in buying early & unusual antique sewing machines.

You are currently at, our antique buying and general information website about antiques and antique sewing Antique New England Sewing Machinemachines.  To see past sales results for both rare full size, and toy antique sewing machines click the relevant links in the right column.  If you are looking for info on later more common sewing machines click this link.

We conduct sales for antique and vintage sewing machines, including Singer Featherweight 221 and 222 sewing machines from our sister website Please visit that site if you are in the market to buy rare antique sewing machines or a good 221 or 222 Singer Featherweight.

We have a separate Singer 221 Sewing Machine informational page at this site as well.   

Examples of Desirable Antique Sewing Machines

Below are a series of pictures that graphically illustrate some of the vintage and antique sewing machines we buy, sell,Antique PONY Toy / Travel Sewing Machine and deal in.  Past sales results for rarer machines will be found on the sewing archive pages (Links on the right).

An important thing to understand about antique sewing machines is that there is a huge difference in the look, rarity, and values of sewing machines that were manufactured before the 1870's compared to sewing machines that were manufactured after that time.

Hand-Held Style Sewing Machines

On the left is what is known as an American Hand scissors-style sewing Antique American Hand Sewing Macine machine. Other examples of this style sewing machine would be the Goodbody patent, Hendrick patent, and Beckwith sewing machines. This type of machine is similar to the products that are being hawked and sold on late night TV today.  Cheap, basically unworkable, and gimmicky, Features that make them great collectibles today.

Many different inventors / designers came up with novel designs to try and get a share of the growing sewing machine market. By the 1880's most of the innovative ideas had been introduced to the market.  By the 1890's there were literally millions of sewing machines being produced by the largest manufacturers and sold to every household in America.

Although "later" (1880 and beyond) machines are "antique" in the sense of their age, they do not have the same historical significance or values as earlier models from the 1850's thru 1870's.

Some antique sewing machines, such as Wilcox & Gibbs, and most Wheeler & Wilson sewing machines carry early patent dates but also carry much later patent dates and were produced well into the 19th and even 20th Century.  They are bought by collectors and decorators, and their value is based more on their decorator appeal rather than on their historical significance.

Clamp-On Sewing MachinesCute Sewing Machine

On the right is a "Cute" sewing machine.  It is an 1870's patent and has an unusual gearing mechanism.  Note it has an integral clamp. There were a number of other sewing machines that were small and portable with built in clamps, including one by Charles Parker, the Hardie patent, the various Hancock patent sewing machines, and others. All are desirable and collectible and examples of many can be seen in the sale archives linked in the right column..

We are primarily interested in buying pre-1870 patented sewing machines, or sewing machines that are of a style that is distinctly different from the common look of most later "antique" sewing machines.  If you have or know of an example of one of these earlier and different looking sewing machines please contact us at anytime.

"New England" Style Sewing Machines

There are a seemingly endless variety of machines collectively referred to as New England antique sewing machinesewing machines.  They were manufactured by a number of different companies with slightly different variations in features and decoration.  The most notable thing about these machines is that they utilized a "walking presser foot" to move the fabric along.

These antique sewing machines were made in the 1860's and 1870's and in general have fancy open-work body styles and decorative paintwork.  A critical factor in determining value of these antique sewing machines is the condition of the paint and decoration.  "Dogs" with little or no decoration sell for little, while pristine examples in their boxes with accessories command a premium.

Paw Foot Antique Sewing Machines

Another style of early patented sewing machine are called Patented Sewing Machine "pawfoot" sewing machines. Shaw and Clark was a major manufacturer. "Ketchem's Patent", Monitor, Wilson, Atwater, Goodspeed & Wyman,Shaw & Clark Sewing Machine Hodgkin's patent, Granite State, are other names that can be found. 

They are typically hand-crank machines.  Many had grooved wheels to be adapted to a treadle machine. They are sometimes referred to as having a "fire hydrant" shaped body. This is sometimes topped with an acorn finial or other decorative element such as a ball. Other machines are nicknamed after the body style and referred to as open pillar, closed pillar, skinny pillar, square pillar, or fat pillar.  The values of this type sewing machine are largely dependent on the condition.  Marked examples are worth more, and some body styles are harder to find than others.

More Pawfoot-Style Sewing Machine Variations

Other similar looking machines dating from this Antique Patented Watson Sewing Machineera are the Watson patent sewing machines like the example pictured here.  The Folsom patent sewing machine that was manufactured in or near Winchendon,Antique Paw Foot Sewing Machine Massachusetts or Biddeford, Maine in the 1860's is another example. Again, condition is really important and when you see an example in pristine condition you'll understand! 

Other historically important and desirable early patented antique sewing machines bear  names like Secor, Thomson, Leavitt, Pratt, Blodgett & Lerow, Blees, Battelle, Parker, Holly, and others dating prior to 1870.

Singer Sewing Machines

#1 Singer Sewing MachineSinger is by far the best known name of sewing machines in the world. Though most Singer sewing machines are very common and frequently found, Singer produced some very rare and desirable machines in the early years (pre 1860), and the best of these are known as the Singer Model 1,  and the Singer Model 2.  The Model 1 and 2 are very large primitive looking sewing machines. After that came the Singer Turtleback which was a much more refined looking machine. Another desirable model from this early era is the Letter A.  These earliest Singer machines typically sell for several thousand dollars.

There is some interest in the more ornate or later Singer cabinet and treadle model sewing machines after the Turtleback and Letter A.   Most later Singers are considered relatively common, and fall into the period of mass production and are bought today mostly for their decorative value.

Singer Featherweight 221 and 222 Sewing Machines

The major exception to all the "rules" above is the Singer MoSinger 221 Sewing Machinedel 221 and 222 Featherweight sewing machines.  There were close to two million of these machines made so in general they are not considered rare.  They were manufactured from the 1930s through the 1960s so they are really not "antique".

They enjoy immense popularity as "user" and collector machines with today's quilters, craftspeople, and other seamstresses.  They are a testament to the quality of the product design that Singer put out.

There are a few hard to find variants of these machines to be found, most notably those marked as coming from the 1936 Texas Centennial Exhibition, the 1934 Chicago Worlds fair, and the 1939 San Francisco Expo.  The difference in these machines is how they are marked on the ID badge.  There is also what is known as the Crinkle finish model that was produced during WWII that is highly sought after.   

If you would like to read more about Singer Featherweights be sure to see the special Featherweight Sewing Machine page we have dedicated to them on this site.

If you would like to buy a Singer Featherweight 221 or 222 please see our Singer Featherweight sales page at

Toy Sewing Machines / TSMs

We are active, knowledgeable, experienced, and specialized dealers in both rare and Antique French TSM Toy Sewing Machine historically important American patented sewing machines and child size or toy sewing machines also known as TSM's. Cupid Childs Treadle Sewing MachinePast Sales Results for many antique sewing machines can be found by clicking this link or finding the appropriate link in the right column.

We sell antique TSM / Toy Sewing Machines, and antique and vintage sewing machines, including Singer Featherweight 221 and 222 sewing machines from our sister Website

Below are a series of pictures that graphically illustrate some of the types and vintage of antique toy sewing machines (TSMs) Antique Spenser Sewing Machinewe buy.

Many small antique sewing machines were marketed as travel or mending machines, and at other times they were sold as children's machines.  Very few of these small antique sewing machines utilized a shuttle and made a lockstitch. Most of these "child size" antique sewing machines were designed to make a simple single thread chain stitch, hardly suitable for mending or regular use. This would indicate that their true market was as toys and that the rest was marketing ploys.

Hancock Patent Sewing Machines

There are a whole Hancock Patent Sewing Machineseries of early patented sewing machines commonly referred to as "Hancocks"  after the original inventor / patent holder.  The original patent was granted in the 1860's. These sewing machines were sometimes marketed under other names, such as the "Household Pet", Lake Patent, and others. They are almost always missing their needle which was an odd design in itself.

We know of three or four different variations of these sewing machines with different tables or thread positions or body styles. Other names of "integral clamp" sewing machines machines are Bartlett, Novelty, Cute, Beckwith, Boynton, Hook, and a few others. All of these early patented American small handcrank sewing machines are sought.

The Hook Sewing Machine Hook Patent Sewing Machine

This wonderful small cast iron sewing machine measures just 4" tall and was patented in the early 1860's.  It was only manufactured for a very short period of time.  It is referred to as the Hook and is very similar to the Hardie, another early patented sewing machine which is slightly larger. This machine also has a built-in clamping mechanism and is another example of a desirable antique sewing machine from the mid 1800's. Although functional, it would hardly be useable.

Smith & Egge / Little Comfort Chain Drive Sewing Machine

This is an example of a mass produced cast iron child size toy sewing Little Comfort TSM Toy Sewing Machine machine that dates from near the turn of the 20th century. This is the type antique sewing machine that can often be found in near mint condition in their original boxes. These early sewing machines originally sold for a dollar or two, and were sold as both toys / child-size machines and as travel / mending machines through large distributors like Sears, Montgomery Wards and the like. 

Double marketing was a ploy to sell as many as possible. Other similar TSM sewing machines carry names like Spenser, Universal, Pony, Triumph, Gem, Tourist, F & W Automatic, American Gem, and more. Harder to find variations include round models in both wood and metal.

Singer Toy Sewing Machines

Singer made a line of toy or child-size sewing machines starting in the 'teens and continuing through today. Thesesinger_childs1.jpg (33616 bytes) sewing machines are often mistakenly called "salesman sample" sewing machines.

All of the different Singer Model 20 small sewing machines were marketed as real sewing machines or toys for girls, and often given away to help implant the Singer name in the mind of the future sewing machine buyer or junior seamstress of  tomorrow.

In general, the values for most of these small toy Singer sewing machines runs from under $100 to $500 or more for a few of the rare variations / colors that have surfaced. 

German Toy Sewing Machines

The next style of  toy sewing machines, which generally dates a bit later, and spans up into the 1960's or so, are the toy machines Westphalia Toy Sewing Machinewhich are usually referred to as "tinnies" or sheet steel models. There are examples of this style machine from the US and all over the world.  Some of them were produced in great numbers and are quite common, while others are considered quite rare and desirable.

Many of these were made in Germany prior to and after WWII. There are hundreds of different variations and many are pictured and discussed in the now out of print books by Glenda Thomas.  The leading manufactures were Casige, and Mueller. Both of these companies also made Cast Iron toy sewing machines, some of which are considered to be the rarest and most desirable of all TSM's that can be found.

The above sewing machines are examples of the caliber, condition and quality of antique sewing machines that we areHerron Patent Sewing Machine Madame Demorest Sewing Machine Patented May 18th 1862primarily interested in.  Past sale archives for many early sewing machines can be viewed by clicking the links. Past sales results for other antiques can be seen from links in the right column

IIf you have quality antique sewing machines similar to those that you see on this page that you want to sell,  please contact us at 

To see examples of antique sewing machines that we currently have for sale, please go to our sister site at

Thank you!!
Larry & Carole

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Larry & Carole Meeker